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Relationship Insecurities: Causes, Consequences and Interventions
Counselor Toolbox for Mental Health...

 
 
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446 – Relationship Insecurities
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC, NCC
Executive Director, AllCEUs
*Based in part on Love Me Don’t Leave Me by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

Objectives
• Identify signs of relationship insecurities
• Explore causes of relationship insecurities
• Identify at least 5 interventions to address relationship insecurities

Signs of Relationship Insecurities
• Difficulty trusting your partner
• Comparing yourself to your partner’s exes or random people in the community
• Requiring frequent reassurance that you are enough
• Anxiety when separated
• Internalizing negative thoughts creating self-fulfilling prophesies
• A feeling of distance or detachment
• Reading negative into everything your partner says

Relationship Bricks
• Often past relationships cause us to build a wall around our heart
• Have clients write the name of people from prior relationships on bricks and put them in a backpack
• Have them put on the backpack and go on a nature walk for 15 minutes.
• When you get back, ask about all of the things they noticed on the walk and how carrying that heavy backpack kept them from being mindful

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Prior learning (Unpack those bags—1 bag/person/session)
• Create paper “bags” for each past relationship brick
• Write a pros and cons list of that relationship
• Write a goodbye letter to that person/relationship detailing what happened, how you felt and how it impacted you
• In sharing what is in the bag, take back your power.
• Instead of saying “You made me feel” say “I felt”
• Instead of a narrative of abandonment and betrayal because of personal inadequacies, explore other reasons the other person to left the relationship
• Explore forgiveness in terms of choosing not to allow that person to continue to hurt you

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Prior learning (Unpack those bags—1 bag/person/session)
• When you are ready to let go of that anger and hurt, take the brick out of the backpack.
• Each week notice how much lighter the backpack feels and how much less energy it takes to tote around

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Trying to master a prior failed relationship
• Make a Venn diagram

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Low self-esteem (Self-validation)
• Collage
• Best friend activity
• Values activity
• Sell yourself
• People may have difficulty developing self-esteem based on a pathological inner critic
• Thought stopping
• Handling hecklers
• Validate in the present / check for accuracy
• Embrace imperfection and synergy

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Poor communication
• Stop assuming you know and expecting mind reading
• Mindfulness
• Lack of Connection
• Intentional activity—Make a list of all of the things you like to do. Intentionally spend time with each other each day.

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Imbalance in power (She does everything… If he leaves, I will not be able to survive.)
• Address anxieties about dependency or helplessness
• Develop support systems and strategies and disaster plans

Causes of Relationship Insecurities
• Insecurities indicates anxiety or fear of being hurt or abandoned
• Jumping to conclusions/Personalization
• Relationship Assumptions “Family Feud”— We surveyed a bunch of people. What are the top 3 explanations for this…Smells like perfume, is late, doesn’t text back right away, doesn’t want to do anything lately, lost interest in sex

Interventions
• Address emotional vs. factual reasoning
• Grieve past losses
• Partners
• Friends
• Parents
• Heart-Break Pot (break into large pieces)
• Using paint pens and markers write on the inside of the broken pieces their feelings about the loss
• On the outside of the pieces name or draw their sources of support.
• Glue back together

Interventions
• Love yourself and believe you deserve love
• Love languages know yours and your partners
• Touch
• Quality time
• Acts of service
• Words of affirmation
• Gifts

Core Principles of Relationships
• Uniqueness of the relationship from others
• Celebrate the uniqueness—How is this time different?
• Integration of beliefs, behaviors and motivations
• Relationships are about synergy
• What beliefs, motivations and behaviors do you share?
• What beliefs, motivations and behaviors do you each have that compliment each other?
• Temperament
• Tendencies
• Values
Core Principles of Relationships
• Mutually envisioned trajectory
• Relationship goals
• Relationship activities
• Relationship pace
• Positive and negative evaluation
• Emphasize the positives
• Mitigate the negatives
• Responsiveness
• Pay attention and be responsive to your needs
• Pay attention, ask about and be responsive to your partner’s needs

Core Principles of Relationships
• Communication and challenge resolution
• Develop rules for discussing and resolving challenges
• Maintenance
• Ensure both partners are engaging in self and relationship maintenance activities
• Recognize the importance of self-maintenance
Core Principles of Relationships
• Shared goals and needs
• Discuss shared goals and needs
• Compromise on differing goals and needs (i.e. money, sex, activities)
• Knowing and exceeding relationship expectations/standards
• Know what a “good” relationship looks like to you and your partner and strive to exceed expectations
Mindfulness Questions for Clients

• What am I feeling?
• What is triggering it?
• Am I safe (emotionally and physically) now? If not, what do I need to do?
• Is this bringing up something from the past?
• How is this situation different?
• How am I different?
• How can I silence my inner critic?
• What would be a helpful reaction that…
• Moves you more toward your goals
• Moves you toward a positive emotional experience

Summary
• Low self esteem and failed prior relationships can cause problems in future relationships
• Transference, cognitive distortions, low self esteem and poor relationship maintenance can all contribute to relationship insecurities
Excellent Resources for Clients

I absolutely love both of these books. Google previews are available on the New Harbinger website: https://NewHarbinger.com
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